Apple’s only retail store location in Austria is preparing to reopen tomorrow, May 5, according to a local report by Heute. Like all Apple Stores outside of greater China, the Vienna location closed in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview last week, Tim Cook noted that stores in Austria and Australia would reopen within 1-2 weeks, but did not specify exact dates.
Apple Kärntner Straße will be the first Apple Store to reopen in Europe and second globally following a single location in South Korea. The process of reopening retail stores that draw crowds any day of the week and are filled with hands-on product demos requires a delicate approach. Apple is assessing its reopening strategy on a store-by-store basis and weighing local conditions before moving ahead.
Austria has watched its daily rate of new coronavirus cases drop throughout March and has fared remarkably well compared to neighboring countries in Europe. With just one retail store location in the country, Apple can monitor the health and safety of customers and employees closely, and respond quickly to a changing environment.
As we’ve seen in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, Apple is establishing a series of health precautions and distancing procedures to ensure a responsible reopening. Customers will need to maintain a 2-meter distance from each other. Store hours will be temporarily reduced. Masks must be worn inside and temperature checks will be required at the door.
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During store closures, customers have turned to the Apple Online Store for their shopping needs and taken Today at Apple at Home sessions for creative inspiration. Apple will continue to direct customers online for the foreseeable future and focus on support and service in-store.
Tim Cook expects a very small number of Apple Stores to reopen in the U.S. throughout May. These locations will likely adopt the safe health and safety standards. Reopening dates for Apple Stores in Australia have yet to be announced.
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